Georgiana Darcy is a character in Pride and Prejudice. She is the younger sister of Fitzwilliam Darcy, and is more than ten years his junior (about eleven or twelve years younger). She is the only daughter and second child of the late Mr. Darcy and the late Lady Anne. As of the end of the novel, she is sister-in-law to Elizabeth Bennet Darcy. Her aunt is Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her uncle is (as referred to by Austen) Earl ______. She is a cousin of Anne de Bourgh and Colonel Fitzwilliam, among others.
Her Early Life
Her parents died when Georgiana was still young so her care and guardianship passed to her elder brother and her cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, the youngest child of her uncle the Earl. She was so much younger than Darcy that he became a father figure in her life, rather than a brother. She has a settlement of £30,000, which would ostensibly become her husband's when she was married. This made her a prime target for fortune hunters like George Wickham, an old friend of the family who was now a gambler and a blackguard.
When Georgiana was only fifteen, Mr. Wickham tried to convince her of his love in order to get her dowry, with the help of Mrs. Younge. She had known him all her life, so she did have an affection for him, and she convinced herself that he did love her. They planned to run away to Gretna Green in Scotland in order to elope. When Mr. Darcy unexpectedly showed up before the elopement, she became so overcome with guilt that she confessed the truth to her brother, who wrote to Wickham and effectively chased him off.
Georgiana made Elizabeth Bennet's acquaintance when Elizabeth and Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner were touring around Derbyshire. Georgiana was reserved, but liked Elizabeth because of her brother's recommendation, since he loved Elizabeth. When Elizabeth and the Gardiners abruptly departed from Derbyshire (due to Lydia, Elizabeth's sister, eloping with Wickham), Darcy later told Elizabeth that Georgiana was very upset by their sudden absence, though Darcy—who knew the truth—did not reveal the reason. When Darcy later wrote to inform Georgiana of his engagement to Elizabeth, Georgiana was delighted, and sent back a letter that expressed her excitement over gaining Elizabeth as a sister. After Elizabeth and Darcy married, she and Georgiana developed a loving, sisterly relationship, which made Darcy very happy.
Despite a couple film portrayals which depict Georgiana with an almost Elizabeth-like personality, the final chapter of Pride and Prejudice says that she is quite shocked by the way Elizabeth speaks to Mr. Darcy, perhaps pointing towards a meeker personality; it was stated in the novel itself that she was rather shy. Jane Austen claims that she was quite astonished to learn that a wife may take liberties with her husband that a sister cannot always take with her brother (ten years senior). All who meet her describe her as a "sweet girl" (except for George Wickham, who claims she is as proud as her brother. It is safe to say that he is lying when he makes this statement).
Role in Pride and Prejudice
Miss Bingley writes in a letter to Jane Bennet that she doesn't think that Georgiana has "her equal for beauty, elegance, and accomplishments". Miss Bingley also wants her brother to marry Georgiana, stating that he already "admires her greatly". Lady Catherine, Georgiana's aunt, praises her education and skill, specifically her ability to play the piano and Mr. Darcy assures her that Georgiana doesn't need any encouragement to practice to more often, because she already does so. He also seems quite proud of her, pointing to her being a studious and charming girl.
Georgiana serves little purpose to the main plot of Pride and Prejudice, except to be an example of George Wickham's bad character. In the letter Mr. Darcy writes to Elizabeth Bennet after she refuses his offer of marriage is the revelation that Wickham attempted to seduce his sister and cheat him out of a sum of money. Later on, Elizabeth and Georgiana meet in Lambton, have a few scenes together at Pemberley, and Georgiana (for the most part) fades out of the story.
- Tessa Wyatt: Pride and Prejudice, TV Mini-Series (1967)
- Emma Jacobs: Pride and Prejudice, TV Mini-Series (1980)
- Emilia Fox: Pride and Prejudice, TV Mini-Series (1995)
- Tamzin Merchant: Pride & Prejudice (2005)
- Alexis Bledel (as Georgina Darcy): Bride & Prejudice (2005)
- Genevieve Gaunt: Lost in Austen (2008)
- Eleanor Tomlinson: Death Comes to Pemberley (2013)
Notes and references
- The equivalent of around 2,015,100 USD as of April, 2017.
- This was a popular spot for elopements, as a woman did not need the permission of her guardian if she had not reached her majority.
- Pride and Prejudice, Volume II, Chapter 12
- Volume III, Chapter 2
- Volume III, Chapter 17
- Volume III, Chapter 19
- Volume III, Epilogue
- Pride and Prejudice, Cp. 21